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MEPs hail accused Romeva as ‘defender of human rights’

Catalan leaders pushed for agreed referendum solution according to testifying MEPs

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29 April 2019 12:35 PM

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ACN | Madrid

Two Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) gave testimony in this morning’s session of the Catalan Trial, hailing Raül Romeva as a "defender of human rights," and assuring that the Catalan leaders pushed for an agreed referendum solution.

Ivo Vajgl, MEP for Slovenia, and Ana Gomes, MEP for Portugal, were both called to the Supreme Court by the defenses of Oriol Junqueras and Raül Romeva.

Vajgl was first to speak to the court, explaining that he considers Romeva a "defender of human rights" and that their relationship involved conflict resolution.

Peace

"I've always said that Mr. Romeva has always acted peacefully, defended dialogue, and that he has never mentioned violence as a way to resolve a problem," Vajgl told the court.

"We were collaborating about issues of peace and war in Syria and the Middle East," the former Slovenian foreign affairs minister explained.

"The Catalan question was always present in the European Parliament. Everyone has their own opinion, mine would be to face the issue with dialogue."

"A true democrat"

Speaking after Vajgl, Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes took to the stand. She and newly elected member of the Spanish Senate Raül Romeva were both members of a subcommittee of defense in the European Parliament.

“I am absolutely convinced that Romeva is a true democrat and is in favor of human rights. Regarding the issue of Catalan independence, we spoke in private, but he was in favor of dialogue and an agreement,” Gomes told the Supreme Court.

The Portuguese politician explains she didn’t have the chance to speak with Oriol Junqueras or Raül Romeva about the referendum. However she did attend a conference that the Catalans gave on the Catalan question, and possible solutions.

“In that conference, they spoke about a conflict that was already developing. I went to it because the ideas on how to solve it seemed interesting to me. They were pushing for an agreed referendum solution, like what we saw in Scotland,” Gomes explained.

Spanish police violence

After the MEPs, German MP Andrej Hunko spoke in the Spanish Supreme Court. He said that he was invited to Catalonia by Diplocat, the diplomacy council of Catalonia, but affirms that the visit was not to act as an official observer of the vote.

Hunko says the type of visit he made was common among international politicians, and that he didn't meet with any Catalan politician before or after the vote. 

"We wrote a report [on the referendum], making particular mention of the violence from the Spanish police," Hunko explains. He also adds that he paid for his visit to Barcelona personally.

Singer-songwriter, Llach, takes the stand

In the afternoon session, Catalan singer-songwriter and former pro-independence MP Lluís Llach testified, objecting “as a homosexual citizen and pro-independence supporter" to being questioned by the lawyer of the far-right Vox party, which is a private prosecutor in the case.

“I didn’t see any act of violence by protesters against police cars,” said Llach, in reference to the protests on September 20, 2017, against Spanish police raids of Catalan government buildings.

Llach added: “We take to the streets because we know that the protests are peaceful, and should anyone engage in violent acts, we would leave them alone.”

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